You might have heard the term “deep stack poker” before, but do you know how to play deep stack poker? If you have a deep stack, that means you’ve got a large amount of chips relative to the size of the big blind.
- In a cash game, a stack of more than 100 big blinds is considered deep.
- In a deep stack tournament, players might start the event with 200 or 300 big blinds.
Obviously, if you have a deep stack, you can play more poker. You won’t need to put all your chips at stake as often and there’s less pressure to take big risks. Turbo and hyper-turbo MTTs can sometimes become all-in-fests with very little postflop play, but deep-stack MTTs are less volatile.
The rules of deep stack poker are the same, but that doesn’t mean the strategy is.
Simple Definition of Deep Stack Poker
The meaning of deep stack doesn’t just mean you have a big pile of chips in front of you. The size of the blinds will measure just how deep you are. It takes a very simple calculation to find out if you are deep-stacked or not.
You can find out how “deep” you are by converting your stack into big blinds.
(Your stack size) divided by (the big blind) = number of big blinds in your stack. For example, if the blinds are 25/50 and you have 15,000 chips in your stack:
(15,000) divided by (50) = 300 big blinds in your stack
Any tournament that gives you a stack size of over 100 could be considered a deep stack event. Not all events are equal though, as you can see from these two deep stack events.
On the left, the partypoker Daily Legends starts you off with 200 big blinds, while PokerStars Deep Stacks event gives you 166. The number of big blinds you start with will vary, but you should always know how many you have.
Sometimes, larger events will start players with more big blinds than smaller events.
Run a quick calculation if you’re planning to join an online deep-stack tournament.
What Are Antes in a Deep Stack Tournament?
Antes create a much larger pot preflop by forcing every player to make a mandatory bet. This bloats the size of the pot to around 40% larger and means there is more at stake with every hand.
In a deep stack tournament, the ante will cost you roughly one big blind for every full round at the table (but this can vary).
If you’re playing in an ante tournament, you should be raising with a wider range than you would if there was no ante in play. There’s more out there to start with and you are even more incentivized to go after it. Additionally, you’re losing roughly one extra big blind per round by paying antes.
Important Deep Stack MTT Strategy
If you are playing in a deep stack MTT, you should make some small adjustments. We’re going to explain some changes you should make if you’re usually playing regular stack poker with 100 big blinds or less.
The rules for structure can vary, so deep stacks can be regular, turbo, or other speeds.
Keep your open raises the same size as usual.
There’s no need to increase the size of your open raise in a deep stack MTT – unless you notice that other players are open-raising larger. Whatever size you would raise to in a 100 big blind stack, use that sizing, whether it's 2.5 big blinds, 3.5 big blinds, or more.
Increase your preflop 3-bet size when you are in position and out of position.
Don’t overdo it, but feel free to increase the size of your 3-bet slightly, especially when you are out of position. Stacks are larger and therefore, a normal 3-bet size doesn’t create the same effect in a deep stack situation.
Change your out-of-position 3-bet range, especially if there is an ante.
Because you are deep stacked, you shouldn’t be risking your full stack on low or medium-strength hands. When you are 3-betting from out of position, you should have a stronger and more polarized range. You can also add some suited connectors to your preflop 3-bet range to improve your hand strength on low board textures.
Tighten up and play more defensively in large pots.
When you play in a deep stack MTT, you’ll notice that players are showing stronger hands when all of the money gets in. You should be tightening up your range in big spots because you stand to lose a lot more if it doesn’t go your way. With a deep stack, you’ve got more than enough chips to avoid unnecessary risks. Your strategy can include a mixed range of hand strengths, but avoid getting it in as an equity underdog.
Saturday and Sunday are usually the best days to play deep-stack MTT tournaments online.
All of the guarantees get increased on Sundays at GGPoker. They’ve got Daily Deep Stack events with a wide range of buy-ins.
Events start at $1 buy-ins, with the best overlay at 5 pm UTC – a $5 entry fee for a $1,500 guaranteed prize.
If you haven’t played on GGPoker yet, then there are three things you should know.
- They’ve got one of the best platforms in online poker.
- You’ll pick up bonuses and rewards for a tiny minimum deposit.
- GGPoker gives away over $5,000,000 every week in MTT tournaments
How to Play with a Deep Stack Cash Games
In a cash game, it's common to see one or two deep-stacked players or more.
When you have a deep stack in a cash game, many players become looser and start playing more hands than usual. You can (and should) widen your range slightly, but not to the point of making low equity plays or chasing improbable draws.
If you get too loose with a deep stack, other players will exploit that.
Once your opponents notice that you are playing more loosely, they can profitably 3-bet you or set traps with strong hands.
Strengthen your range in all-in spots.
There’s no need to risk a significant portion of your stack by getting involved with weak or mid-strength hands. If you are going to get all of the money in, make sure that you’ve played a solid preflop range.
Re-evaluate the value of your hands.
When you’re deep-stacked, you’re able to cover all of the players, or at least, most of them. One viable deep stack cash game strategy is to see a healthy amount of flops while controlling the size of the pot – meaning minimum investment for maximum opportunities.
Having a big stack doesn’t mean you need to play like a big stack.
When your opponents have 50 big blinds and you have 250 big blinds, the extra 200 you have is irrelevant. You don’t need to push around the small stacks, but keep that move in your back pocket for certain situations. In position, you can choose some of your draws to play aggressively, as your opponent is risking more of their stack to continue from out-of-position (plus, you have fold equity).
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